FamiliarJune 4th - July 10th, 2022
Court Tree Collective proudly presents Familiar, a group exhibition featuring work of two families of artists: the Rush and the Yoda families. The Rush family’s artistic story spans three generations: grandmother, son, and grandson. The Yoda family are Japanese immigrants that have artistic roots dating back to 1921. Familiar is a true a story about two families of artists.
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To be familiar, is to be known. The bond of family lives and expands beyond earthly matters. Mirroring one another—the Rush family, and the Yoda family are rooted by their innate artistic abilities. Passed along from generation to generation, their diverse ancestral backgrounds and upbringings create a prolific conversation. The versatile masterings of material and technique run deep within these paralleled families.
The three generations of the Rush family—Jane Gilbert Rush (mother and grandmother), Ken Rush (father) and George Rush (son), all approach their personal art practices in unorthodox ways. Varying from needlepoint, to oil, to acrylic gouache, each artist finds clarity within realism, and surrealism. Within their works as a collective lies an undeniable sense of humor, charm, and nostalgia. These themes are the invisible strings which tie these pieces to one another from the past generation, to the present.
Dating back to 1921, the Yoda family have spent the past 100 years expressing their love for the sake of art. Junko Yoda (mother) immigrated from Japan to New York, where she met Toshihisa Yoda (father). Their dedication, and diligence to their craft has been passed down to their son Yoichiro. Working within the worlds of tactile installation, abstract and figurative painting, and film— each work is laced with story telling.
At the hearts center are family ties. The truths of their ancestral narratives ground the Yoda and Rush. On view from June 4th - July 10th 2022, Court Tree Collective honors the dual symbiotic natures of the two families.
- Margaux Erin
Jane Gilbert Rush (mother and grandmother)
Jane Gilbert Rush (1917-1998) was born in Boston, Massachusetts. Jane grew up in a home that was filled with art, much of it by her uncle- the painter, Randall Davey. Art was always one of her favorite and most joyful pursuits. She married Kenneth Rush in 1937, and went on to have six children, of which Ken (Junior) was the youngest. She continued to informally draw and paint until she discovered needlepoint in the 1960s. From then until her death in 1998, she created innumerable tapestries, many of which were of places she visited and the homes where she lived. Her work was characterized by strong design and delightful often humorous detail. The two needle points shown in this exhibit are of her condominium in Delray Beach. It was her final home for many years with her husband and supplied many wonderful winter getaways for the family.
KEN RUSH (father)
Ken Rush, June, acrylic oil on linen, 30” x 40”, 2022
Jane’s youngest child, Ken Rush, Jr., was born in 1948 and grew up in Rye, New York. While attending boarding school, Ken came under the influence of the painter and teacher Mark Potter and by the age of 17, Ken was determined to pursue a life in art. He went on to receive his BFA in painting from Syracuse University School of Fine Arts in 1971 and was greatly influenced by spending a year studying in London, England. He moved to Brooklyn in 1971 with his first wife, Martha, and young son, George, where Ken established a studio practice which he continues until this day. Ken and Christine married and moved to Carroll Gardens in 1979, where they currently live in their storefront home. After 43 years teaching visual arts, largely at Packer Collegiate Institute, Ken left teaching in 2015 to work full time in the studio. Ken is honored to have four children and five grandchildren, and he and Chris spend much time in their small Vermont farm.
GEORGE RUSH (son)
George Rush, Social Practicing series, acrylic gouache on paper, 14” x 11”, 2022
Since 2019, George Rush has been making small acrylic gouache paintings from his ongoing archive of cellphone photos. For the twelve paintings in Familiar, Rush chose images of people looking at art he has taken over the past few years during travels to New York, Paris, London, Dresden, Berlin, Venice, Rome, and his home city of Columbus, Ohio. In Rush’s paintings, artworks, the galleries, and the spectators are all lovingly rendered but any romantic inclination is tempered by irony and even humor. For example: in Villa Medici, Rome, Balthus’ tableau of classical statuary becomes a photo-op for a sunburned tourist; in Sherman, Columbus, two women in conversation are overshadowed by a gigantic blowup of a Cindy Sherman photograph; in Wiley, Dresden, a middle-aged couple, identically dressed, lean together, looking up at a Kehinde Wiley painting, in which a beautiful young man looks out from a field of yellow. In these pictures, Rush is interested in how just looking at art becomes a particularly social event: people block views, walk past, share space, look at and photograph each other, mingle, and, occasionally, attempt to lose themselves in the artworks on the walls.
George Rush grew up in Brooklyn, New York and Newton, Massachusetts. He earned a BFA from Maryland Institute College of Art and an MFA from Columbia University School of the Arts. After graduating from Columbia, he was studio assistant to Peter Halley and taught ESL at 32BJ-SEIU. He has exhibited widely and has been included in exhibitions at Centre Pompidou, Columbus Museum of Art, Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Ross Art Museum at Ohio Wesleyan University and Center gallery at Fordham University. He has had solo exhibitions in New York, Copenhagen, Madrid, Miami, Galveston, Cincinnati, Columbus, and Detroit. In 2010 he joined the faculty of the Department of Art at The Ohio State University and previously he taught at Yale School of the Ars, RISD, Vassar, University of Tennessee, and Columbia School of the Arts. He is a recipient of awards from New York Foundation of the Arts, the Pollock-Krasner Foundation. In 2021 he was a Greater Columbus Arts Council Dresden Residency Fellow. He currently has a one-person exhibition at The Contemporary Dayton, in Dayton, Ohio. He lives in Columbus, Ohio.
Mitsue Kishi (grandmother)
Mitsue Kishi “Shichifukujin (Seven Gods of Fortune)” 1996 painted seashell
Yoda family has been living and working in the same studio in SoHo since 1990. What makes them so unique is that they all paint very differently Toshi is a stubborn abstract painter, Junko is showing an installation here that is one of her formats. Yoichiro is a theatrical figurative painter and documentary film maker. Another member of the Yoda Family that must be mentioned. It is Junko’s mother, Mitsue Kishi. She began painting when she was 74 years old, shorty after Yoichiro’s grandfather, Teruyoshi Kishi passed away. She had very bad glaucoma, so she couldn’t see at all out of her right eye and her left eye was almost as bad. However, that did not stop her from painting. She could only make works on postcard size but also made paintings on rocks, sea shells and even made three dimensional works until she passed away at the age of 90.
Junko Yoda (mother)
Junko Yoda “Space/Planet Earth” 2013-14 (Installation View) photo credit: Mitsuya Okumura
Junko Yoda was born in Tokushima, Japan in 1943. In 1969, Junko moved to New York, married Toshihisa Yoda. Shortly after that, she changed her art materials from oil on canvas to acrylic and washi (Handmade Japanese paper). In 1980, Junko had her first solo show at Zabriskie Gallery in New York. She was represented by Zabriskie Gallery for 32 years until the gallery closed. Over the years, there were memorable shows like “Waves”(2004), “The Hudson” (2006), and “Central Park” (2010). Grace Glueck of The New York Times wrote a powerful review of “Waves”. The Managing Editor of Art in America, David Ebony wrote a beautiful article in his review of “The Hudson”. Junko had a solo exhibition at Gallerie Zabriskie in Paris from 1984-1985. In 2005, Junko received a grant from The Pollock - Krasner Foundation , Inc. The grant made her happy because this had special meaning to her and it related to her decision to move to New York from Japan. One was getting married to Toshihisa, the other reason was a certain painting,“Number 8” by Jackson Pollock which she saw for the first time at the National Museum of Art, Tokyo in 1966. Later, Junko coincidentally found “Number 8” during a visit to the Neuberger Museum at SUNY Purchase.
Toshihisa Yoda (father)
Toshihisa Yoda, “Umbrella Plant” oil on canvas, 60” x 30” (each), 2022
Toshihisa Yoda was born in 1940 in Shizuoka Japan. He learned painting at Musashino Art University in Tokyo. During his school years, his original plan was to go move to Paris like all the other students. However, he changed his mind and decided to go to the U.S. instead of Paris. After he reached New York, he enrolled in the Brooklyn Museum Art School and Art Students League of New York until he received his green card. It was the most exciting time in the art scene in New York City. In 1971, Leo Castelli and four other galleries colletively made a gallery building on 420 West Broadway. Soho
was born. Toshihisa’s first solo exhibition in New York was held in Soho. Following the exhibition, he had many solo shows and group shows in New York and in neighboring states. Toshihisa was included in a historic exhibition called “Art Today’ 80” at Seibu Museum of Art in Tokyo, curated by art critic Teruo Fujieda. Toshihisa’s large paintings are in the collections of major museums in Japan.
Yoichiro Yoda (son)
Yoichiro Yoda “Loew’s Kings Theatre” 2015-22 oil on canvas 30” x 40”
Yoichiro Yoda was born in 1972 in Takamatsu City, Japan. He moved to New York when he was 3 months old. In kindergarten, 2 of his paintings were exhibited in The Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Children’s Show. For Yoichiro , growing up on 3rd Avenue and 53rd Street was a wonderful experience. There were 7 movie theaters in the neighborhood. Later on, movie & theatres would become a very important subject matter for his paintings. During Junior High School in Brooklyn, Yoichiro was placed in the “Theatre Arts program. At first, Yoichiro’s parents complained to the school counselor. They hoped that Yoichiro would pursue a different career-something different from his parents. However, it seemed that Yoichiro naturally became an artist. Yoichiro Went to Fiorello H. LaGuardia High School of Music & Art as an art major, and after graduating in 1990, he chose Tyler School of Art where he found what would become another major theme for his paintings, the old theatres of 42nd Street. During the MFA program at Queens College (1996-1998), Yoichiro witnessed the horrific destruction of most of the historic theatres on 42nd Street. As an artist, he knew that the only way for him to do something for the lost theatres was to preserve them in his paintings and video.He then compiled the countless hours of video footage and edited it to create his video documentary, “Last Days of 42nd Street”. Yoichiro’s dream was to one day own a theatre on 42nd Street. However, that dream was lost when the old theatres were demolished in the late 1990’s. Then in 2015, Yoichiro , after hearing about an International Arts festival called the Setouchi Triennale 2016, he thought that his lifelong dream of owning his ow theatre could be realized as an art project. After applying, his idea was accepted and given one of the large warehouses on a small island in the Seto Inland Sea. His project was to bring back what was once lost-as a “re-creation” of a theatre based on the lost theatres of 42nd Street to the new and different atmosphere of Megi Island. Yoichiro’s project entitled “Island Theatre Megi” made its debut on March 20th, 2016 and is a permanent public art piece that is screening his “Last Days of 42nd Street: 1994-2003” video along with silent film shorts of Felix the Cat and Charlie Chaplin.